NEW DELHI: A three-member ombudsman set-up by the Centre for regulating advertisements given by various governments and political parties could soon examine the practice of “excessive and selective advertising”.
According to sources in the government, the ombudsman, headed by BB Tandon, could be asked to look into cases of “excessive and selective” advertisements by governments, political parties and other authorities, which has set off concerns.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who also holds the portfolio of information and broadcasting, had earlier flagged this issue, raising questions that the practice could amount to “political bribery”.
The Congress has also written to the committee to examine the spending on advertising by the AAP. It pointed out that the party advertised its policies such as the odd-even scheme in media outlets outside of Delhi.
The three-member ombudsman, which includes journalist Rajat Sharma and advertising guru Piyush Pandey, was set up following the Supreme Court’s instruction to regulate advertisements. The court’s notice to Centre had come in the wake of a petition filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against AAP in Delhi and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu for flouting the court’s orders on public advertisements.
Meanwhile, proposals have been received from the Delhi Assembly speaker and the Tamil Nadu government for starting new channels, officials said. Sources in the ministry indicated that a decision could be taken, based on TRAI recommendations, which are not in favour of allowing governments into broadcasting activities.